Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 8:33 am
Legendary bluesman Tabby Thomas died Wednesday at the age of 84.
He would have celebrated his 85 birthday on Sunday.
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayunereports that Thomas was probably best known for opening Tabby's Blue Box in Baton Rouge, La. He opened the club in the late 1970s, giving Louisiana blues musicians, who had lost opportunities because of the disco craze, a place to play.
Blues-lovers from around the globe flocked to Tabby's.
Nurse Carina Araujo gives care to a child in the neonatal intensive care unit at Maternidade Doutor Alfredo da Costa Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 6. Portugal's birthrate has dropped 14 percent since the economic crisis hit.
Credit The Washington Post / The Washington Post/Getty Images
An elderly woman sits near the Tejo River in Lisbon on Oct. 17, 2011. Portugal's population is aging rapidly, due to a drop in births coupled with growth in emigration.
Credit Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP/Getty Images
The government is closing schools and maternity hospitals, and Maternidade Doutor Alfredo da Costa Hospital was slated to close last summer. But MAC staff went to court to fight for their jobs and won a reprieve, so the facility remains open — though two whole wings sit unused.
In Lisbon, the waiting area of Portugal's biggest maternity hospital is empty. You can hear the hum of soda machines across the hall. There's just one expectant father, pacing the room.
Mario Carvalho, 40, has a toddler son and now awaits the birth of his baby girl.
"Today, I hope!" he says with a nervous smile.
The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion. But in Portugal, it's an increasingly rare one. Since the economic crisis hit, the country's birthrate has dropped 14 percent, to less than 1.3 babies per woman — one of the lowest in the world.